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Apple's Marketing Guru: The 1984 Ad Was More Successful Than Apple Itself

In 1984, Apple launched an ad campaign based on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which depicted IBM users as mindless followers and Mac users as visionaries and rebels. Now, the man behind it, Regis McKenna, has explained that he think it was more successful than the product it attempted to sell.

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Speaking to the marketing magazine Ad Age, McKenna explains:

"The ad was more successful than the Mac itself. The Mac was expensive to build, and Apple's margins went negative in 1986. That conflict led to Steve's ouster from Apple. The ad had some negative effect on corporate buyers, who were flocking to IBM. They didn't like seeing themselves as mindless [followers]. But Apple wasn't really ready for the corporate market anyway. "1984" came out of the Chiat agency, and they set the creative bar in many ways. The ad set an attitude of rebellion against the status quo, and it probably continues to serve Apple today."

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He's clearly a very modest man—of course his ad is responsible for Apple's continued success—but there's no denying that the campaign helped define Apple and what it stood for. In fact, the entire interview, over at Ad Age, is well worth a read. [Advertising Age]

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DISCUSSION

I'd almost agree with him. Apple users like to see themselves as artists / rebels, but they're locked into an incredibly restrictive ecosystem, while the PC market was amazingly diverse. The ad managed to completely subvert the reality for most people.